KUALA LUMPUR: Claiming that there was a conflict of interest in his conviction and sentencing, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his legal team have filed an application to give additional evidence in a bid to nullify the High Court trial in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case.
The application has been filed at the Federal Court, said his lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, adding that “the application is supported by a very massive affidavit by Datuk Seri Najib”.
The additional evidence aims to persuade the Federal Court to nullify the trial at the High Court on the grounds that it infringes the rules against bias and fair trial principles.
The evidence which Najib’s legal team is working to adduce is related to the judge who presided over the SRC case at the High Court, Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
Mohd Nazlan found Najib guilty of seven charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42mil of SRC funds.
He sentenced Najib to 12 years’ in jail and a fine of RM210mil.
The Court of Appeal later upheld his decision on Dec 8, 2021.
Muhammad Shafee said yesterday that the new discovery revealed Mohd Nazlan had served as the general counsel and company secretary for Maybank Group in 2006.
Maybank Investment Bank Bhd was the body responsible in proposing the formation of SRC International Bhd while its wholly-owned strategic advisory division, Bina Fikir Sdn Bhd, was tasked with research and advisory matters in the establishment of SRC.
“The fact that Mohd Nazlan concealed his personal involvement in the setting up of SRC to the defence amounts to a conflict of interest, which has led to a real danger of bias.
“The personal involvement of the trial judge in matters pertaining to the RM4.17bil loan to 1MDB puts him in a situation of conflict. He becomes a potential witness in an intimately related criminal case against Datuk Seri Najib which was ongoing simultaneously with the SRC trial,” he said.
He added that Mohd Nazlan – in his capacity as general counsel and company secretary as well as Maybank’s head of corporate and legal service – had been involved in the deliberation and decision-making of the RM4.17bil loan for the acquisition of Tanjong Energy Holdings.
Muhammad Shafee said Mohd Nazlan would have also had “constructive knowledge, if not direct knowledge” of the RM140mil loan facility given by Maybank to Putra Perdana Development (PPD).
Proceeds of the loan facility form part of the subject matter of the charges related to the RM42mil.
He added that a Maybank Investment bank officer named Michael Oh-Lau, who served as managing director, head of debt markets, confirmed that Mohd Nazlan had attended the board of directors meetings related to the loan to 1MDB.
He was also briefed on the steps to be taken as proposed action against 1MDB and Tanjong Energy Holdings, when the sovereign wealth fund was on the verge of defaulting its payments in early 2015.